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With the strength of coffee, health benefits of tea, and appeal of chocolate, the South American beverage Maté comes on top of the list of the six frequently consumed stimulants in the world. As you may know maté is V on brand over here at UTMS – though, our podcast “Maté Time” should’ve given that away by now. Not only is it an amazing superfood (containing over 24 vitamins and minerals, and tons of antioxidants btw), it is also absolutely delicious! 


Maté is highly consumed in South America, specifically in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil; and in few Middle Eastern countries. Everyone has their special touch to preparing this beverage, but today we will be teaching you how they do it in the Middle East.


All you need is a gourd, bombilla, yerba maté and hot water.

  • The gourd is a hollow cup and could be made up of wood, glass, ceramic, silicone or calabata.

  • The bombilla (bom-bee-ja) is a metal straw with a filter on one end  to prevent the leaves  and stems from entering the straw while sipping.

  • Yerba maté (yer-bah mah-tey) is the herbal blend that usually contains maté leaves and stems.

Now that we have everything ready, let’s make some Maté!


Fill the gourd half way with maté leaves. Slowly add in your hot water, make sure it hasn’t boiled because it will mess up your maté. Let the tea steep for about 30 seconds. If you leave it for too long you will get an unpleasant bitter taste.


Insert the bombilla on the inner side of the gourd slowly and NEVER stir. Once the bombilla touches the bottom it sits there without moving. Newcomers to maté tend to jiggle the bombilla. 


Maté usually is shared among a group, one gourd, one bombilla, and one person, who serves the maté to the group. You should sip the drink till the last drop each time you are offered maté, otherwise it will ruin the next serving. Once you are finished, pass it back so the designated person can clean the bombilla and prepare it for the next person.

If you are drinking maté in the Middle East, you may hear the word ‘karasia’ which is a broken interpretation of the word ‘gracias’. This means, I’m done having maté now thank you. Otherwise they will keep giving you maté when your turn comes around. This part isn’t particularly serious. Just make it clear to the person if you want more or if you’ve had enough. These steps may seem overwhelming but it’s very easy to catch on, and definitely worth trying. Common snacks to serve with maté are pastries, crackers, salty nuts and then you’re all set for Maté Time!

 Author: Hanaa Bahmad

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